A Maryland man just wanted to show off his morel mushrooms with his friends on Facebook. Unfortunately, police, apparently unaware of what morels look like, concluded he was posting photos of illegal mushrooms, and they came knocking.
More than one criminal has been done in by Facebook, either by inadvertently giving away their locations or posting evidence of their crimes. But John Garrison is not a criminal – he’s a wildlife research assistant. And photos of morel mushrooms are not evidence of a crime – they’re evidence of extraordinary luck and hard work paying off.
As The Takeout reports, Garrison found the mother lode, as he called it, of the delicious specimens while out hunting, and decided to share the joy with his Facebook followers.
“Mountain Morels!!! About to sautee them with brown sugar and cinnamon and see how that turns out.”
And sautee them with brown sugar and cinnamon he did. Unfortunately, his meal was spoiled when a police officer turned up.
Apparently not understanding the difference between morel mushrooms and the illegal psilocybin mushrooms (colloquially called “psychedelic mushrooms” or “magic mushrooms”), the police officer turned up and started asking questions. Garrison tried to explain that the mushrooms he was eating were perfectly legal. However, the cop was not convinced, says Garrison, and for a while, it looked like he might be headed downtown. Fortunately, a more knowledgeable police officer turned up and explained the situation. After checking I.D.’s, the cop left.
For those not familiar, morel mushrooms are a sought-after delicacy that are almost impossible to cultivate. Finding them requires experience, good timing, a keen eye, and more than a little bit of good luck. They don’t produce a high – that is, unless you count the natural high that comes from enjoying a delicious meal. They are perfectly legal in all 50 states.
Psilocybin mushrooms, on the other hand, are illegal and are considered a drug. Ingesting them will produce a trip that includes hallucinations and other psychedelic effects.
But here’s the thing: morels and psilocybin look exactly nothing alike. Morels range in size from about the size of your thumb to roughly the size of a soda can (for a big one), and their caps are taller than their stems, with a honeycomb appearance (or you could just look at the feature image of this article to see what they look like). Psilocybin mushrooms, on the other hand, are considerably smaller, with flat caps.
Garrison, for his part, has been good-natured about the entire thing, writing “What an experience.”